doing so during the cleaning stage will ruin it for future use. Remove the saturated sheep fleece from the dirty water and carefully place it on the drying rack. Have you ever washed your own wool? After shearing, lay the wool out on the table and trim off the neck wool, all edges of the fleece, and the sweat locks – the greasy fleece from under and around the tail and legs. When raw wool is washed, it is at 140 degrees to melt the lanolin away. Here are my simple steps for washing alpaca wool: Get two basins of … The quality of wool you start the process with greatly effects the yarn you will have at the end. Step 4: Load up to 2 and a half pounds of raw wool into the washing machine. It rained yesterday and the sheep are cleaner than they've been in weeks." If done improperly the process of washing can felt the wool into an unusable mess. Are you considering it? If so, this highly profitable homestead side hustle might be just what you have been looking for to make money off your land or small farm. ( Log Out /  when cleaning a big batch of dried wool all at once, it is not a Dyed wool roving typically demands a price of at least $5 for only a few ounces. We want to keep the sheep as clean as possible. !” in the January 2009 newsletter. Pretty up the sheep just like you are getting ready to take them to Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Next, make a series of diagonal blows along the sheep's flank to clear the wool from this side. I’m super interested in all things sheep so I can decide if this is the right move for us. difficult nor expensive. Share. Shearing the wool before the flies hatch, gets rid of the dirty soiled fleece. Step 5: Allow the wool to soak in the washer for 25 minutes. BEFORE putting the wool in, add enough soap to make the water feel slippery. Wool dries quickly, and must be still wet to accept either a natural or synthetic dye. Fast facts Shearing usually takes place once a year and most woolgrowers Hey we are a small family of five that is beginning our homesteading journey. Fill your sink or tub with enough hot water to cover your fleece and add some detergent. Spring shearing also prepares the sheep to have at least 1 inch of wool on their coats in the summer. First, hold one carder in one hand with the handle pointed away from you. Wool of poorly fed sheep lacks fat and sheen and is always dull. First, lay them cut side down and remove all the big pieces of vegetable matter (VM)-hay, grass, straw, sticks, etc. © 2021 New Life On A Homestead | Homesteading Blog. Keep it for yourself? These are very short cuts of wool that occur when you go over the same area more than once with your shears. Do not agitate the wool. Some will only use Dawn, but I’ve started to use laundry detergent after learning that some fiber mills use it. The sink water will feel very slick from the soap or Wisk used and the lanolin that you are releasing from the wool. I’d love to have the time to clean and spin wool to make my own usable fiber, but it’s just not something in the cards. Rinse the large, plastic container clean and fill once again with 71.1 degrees Celsius water. Pour in about 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. The dyed wool roving is often sold to fabric artists, and used to make needle felted animals, wet felting play mats, and beautiful home decor. DO NOT AGITATE-agitation makes felt. Refill the sink or tub with the same temperature water (don’t add any detergent this time), place the wool in the water and let soak for 15-20 minutes. Hair sheep do not require shearing because they lack sufficient woolly fibers or … Flystrike. You'll need some sort of a tub. Hand carding is confusing to explain but there are many resources online that have photos or videos. Different people also have different views on what detergent is best. One thing any handspinner can’t stand is 2nd cuts. And then bring the shears across for removing the wool along the crotch (you should repeat this blow to … After you get that done, make sure you tear off all the belly wool and heavily contaminated neck wool and discard. Fill the sink with warm water – just enough to cover the amount of wool you are washing and still allow it to move freely in the water. Allow the wool to soak in the sink for at least 10 minutes to loosen the dirt thoroughly. Stir the water a little to mix the detergent in but don’t make bubbles. Cleaning and dying wool is neither Part 2 (nine months later): "I'm glad we took those shearing classes. Gently grasp the sheep underneath her chin and use your hand to stretch her backward. The following are the steps for washing your wool: Once you have all the excess water out of your wool lay it flat on a drying rack, lawn chair or even a skirting table to dry. After a lot of deliberation, I decided that using the wool from my sheep for spinning (and fabric production) just wasn’t worth it. Drying time will depend on air circulation and temperature. The sheep feel the same way after being shorn as someone shaving the beard off after a long time does: a bit naked, a bit cold, but mostly relieved, cleaner and lighter. Raw wool is use to create Waldorf dolls and soft sculpted animals. Having a bit of wool on the sheep in the summer, rather than none at all, allows the wool fiber to dissipate heat more quickly. Draw your clippers toward the neck, stopping just below the chin. If the raw fleece is really greasy, consider using Wisk instead. Gently brush the working carder over the wool and towards you. Shear the Chest, Neck, and Chin Next up is the neck, chest, and chin of your sheep. Sheep raised for wool and meat also face a variety of painful mutilations. While getting Remember to consider this when finding a drying spot for your wool. If you want scented wool (some folks do this when using the raw wool stuffing) drop in up to 10 drops of your chosen essential oil as well. This spring I want to discuss shearing, washing and carding your wool. Learn How to Shear Sheep. If you are the crafty type, you could learn how to make your own Waldorf dolls via our New Life On A Homestead tutorial with free patterns, stuffed toys, needle felted animals that sell for roughly $25 to $50 each or wet felted playscapes that run between $100 to $185 each, and make even more money from your homestead using the wool the sheep provide. To ensure a long life of wear, specialized care techniques are required to properly clean the shearling. Once the entire fleece has been removed from the sheep, the fleece is thrown, clean side down, on to a wool table by a shed hand (commonly known in New Zealand and Australian sheds as a rouseabout or rousie). Change ), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Getting More Out of Your Wool, part 1: Shearing and Processing, In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. Some of the reviews on this site may be compensated by the companies whose products were reviewed. Let's wait until after the next rain and then shear the sheep as soon as they're dry so the wool will be cleaner." Washing of sheep is generally only done with sheep that have been shorn and don't have much fiber (like market lambs where you want to show off the muscle). There are many breeds that are dual or even tri purpose sheep. You can spin using a rolag or use it for felting. In the January 2010 newsletter, we talked about keeping your sheep’s wool in tip-top shape in preparation for shearing (see “Winter Care for a Cleaner Fleece”). Here in Snowdonia, the farms still join forces to help one another to shear the flocks. Agitate the water with your hands or a spoon to mix in the vinegar. Breed matters. Yes, all sheep make wool, and yes it is all use-able, however, sheep bred to produce wool specifically are going to give a much better wool than a meat sheep does. Step 7: Pour up to three tablespoons of distilled white vinegar into the washer. At our Sanctuaries, shearing is solely for the sheep—and we take as much time and care as possible throughout the process. Shearing is an important part of sheep husbandry and crucial to their welfare. Card the wool onto the stationary carder again. The better the sheep eats, the more fat in the wool gives softness. In 2010, we donated the wool to help with the clean up of the BP oil spill. Sheep shearing is an important and social time in the farming calendar. Hi Tara, thank you for this information. Hi Amber, Sheep are great for a homestead! If dyeing the wool, actually it needs to be dry in order to be weighed (if you want predictable/repeatable color). This can lead to fence damage and damaged fleece. to heat and agitation will cause it to “felt”. Picking straw and grass or other large debris out of the washed wool is almost always necessary – no matter how much time you spend doing the same thing before washing the wool. A word of caution – cats and other animals do like to lie on or play with drying wool! Washing raw wool (often referred to as Gently squeeze the water from the wool. Image of spiders, animals, scissors - 187220646 Gently squeeze the water from the wool. Read more about how wool is able to regulate temperature. Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day. The drying process takes between one to three days, depending on the temperature and humidity in the drying area. Lay the fleece gently in the water. Push it down into the water as gently as possible. Once weighed, it can be soaked and made ready for dyeing. The Woolery offers a full line of scour products from Kookaburra, Namaste Farms and Unicorn. • After shearing off the wool from the belly, legs and face, the rest of the fleece is removed in a single piece. We’ll discuss spinning and felting in the next newsletter! Lambs wool is wool that is taken from sheep at their first shearing. Put HOT water in a large tub or washer, enough water so that when the wool is submerged it isn’t too cramped. Remove the wool from the sink, and gently squeeze away the excess water. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If the water isn’t quite clear you can rinse one more time. Allow the wool to remain in the vinegar, and water bath for at least 10 minutes. When it comes to the art of shearing, it is preferable to get the fleece off all off in one piece. So as you go through your normal year, try and keep the wool as clean as possible. Little bits of straw and grass will work their way out of dense wool during the scouring process, only revealing themselves as the sheep fleece dries. Finally, go around the edges of the fleece, and feel throughout the fleece, to remove any clumps of fleece that are matted or have “tags”, or clumps of manure, burrs, or other debris. sheep fleece. Pour in up to three tablespoons of distilled white vinegar. It is amazing how quickly it is picked up! When well cared for, sheep can live up to 20 years. ), Draw wool across the carder; take the other carder (the working carder) in your other hand and place over the 1. This typically occurs when the lamb is around 7 months old. Search engine queries addressed in this post include: “Sheep shearing machine cleaning” “Does oil go in electric shears hand piece” “Best oil to use with electric sheep shears” and “best oil sheep sheers” “what kind of oil for my sheep shearing … We are looking to add some sheep into the mix for wool milk and mutton. Cleaned raw wool sells for about $25 a pound. Ultimately, you don’t have to wash alpaca fleece like sheep’s fleece, because alpacas don’t have oils, lanolin, and suint like sheep. The dirty unshorn wool invites flies. Be sure to pin this article on one of your Pinterest boards, to come back to it in the future! Shearling, also known as sheepskin, is a sheep or lambskin pelt that has undergone a limited shearing process in order to obtain a uniform depth and look to the wool fibers. You can wash a whole fleece in your bathtub or another large container that can hold hot water, or if you’d rather, you can wash smaller batches in your sink. Some people like to use very hot water (160F+) but most people just use hot tap water (120F). Or process it and sell the finished product? "I wish the sheep shearer would hurry up and get here. While the process is a little time consuming after shearing. labor intensive process, and can be completed easily even if you are To reduce the amount of time it takes However, you may not like the smell or fine dirt that get into the coat. Place the wool back into the water, and gently immerise every last bit of it. the wool wet and pliable, is vital to the wet felting craft process, Some will need to be picked over for grasses and hay and other debris before being washed, very carefully in water to get rid of most of the lanolin (an oil that sheep’s skin produces). And, as with anything, practice makes perfect. Step 8: Fill the washer with warm water again, and manually agitate the drum to mix in the distilled white vinegar thoroughly. Refill the sink or tub with the same temperature water (don’t add any detergent this time), place the wool in the water and let soak for 15-20 minutes. If you have a double sink, you could use one for the first stage of the scouring process and one for the second, or simply drain and refill a single sink, as I did. Do not agitate the wool. DO NOT ring out the wool as you wood a dish towel, or needle felting will almost certainly happen. Is the cleaned, dry wool then ready to use for stuffing dolls? Roll the fiber up towards the heel end of the carder to make a rolag. After reading this you’ll be able to decide if processing wool is for you or if you’d rather send it to a mill. So it really does start in the field with the sheep. ( Log Out /  Loosely put the sheep's wool in the water and let it soak for about an hour. Part 3 (nine months even later): Allow the wool to remain in the vinegar, and water bath for at least 10 minutes. The wool table top consists of slats spaced approximately 12 cm apart. If you are going to store the wool to use later to either make Waldorf doll heads, as stuffing for plush toys or pillows, or weigh it and put it in bags to sell, the wool must be 100% dry. Submerge the wool fleece carefully and gently in the soapy water. Photo about Sheep wool after shearing for making clothes. Sheep hair after shearing. Push the stationary carder along the teeth of the working carder and transfer the wool to the working carder. Cruelty-Free Wool Processing. Slowly agitate the wool around with your hands. No, I wouldn't wash the sheep before you sheared unless you could: (1) Get them completely dry before shearing/getting themselves dirty again (2) Protect them from any moisture whatsoever--the protective lanolin oil in the wool will be washed out. This shearing course will give you a straightforward, practical guide to the art of shearing. Squeeze or spin dry. Take care not to manipulate the wool to sink it into the water any more than you have to in order to avoid wet felting. I hope you’ll join me. Let the wool soak for 15-20 minutes then take the wool out of the water and drain the sink or tub. When cleaning shearling slippers, it is recommended you only clean them as needed to remove dirt. Step 1: Fill washing machine with warm water. What will you do with your bags of wool? Sheep can be used for meat, wool and milk. To avoid wet felting your wool while scouring it, never place it directly under running water and keep the water temperature lukewarm or warm and never – ever, hot. more picking out briars, straw, and clumps of dirt from the raw wool Once the neck and shoulder are cleared of wool, shear the wool from her right foreleg, from the shoulder to the toe. (I’m right-handed so I put this carder in my left hand. After shearing the belly, it’s time to shear the inside of the hind legs and the crotch. Carefully immerse the raw wool in the sink water. Take the wool out of the water and drain the sink or tub. Cleaning your wool is actually a very easy process. ( Log Out /  Here are some of my favorites (you can also google “hand carding” or “drum carding” for additional resources): Once you’ve carded your fiber you’re ready to spin it or felt it. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. Let the wool soak for 15-20 minutes then take the wool out of the water and drain the sink or tub. How to Clean an Oilcloth Coat Suede on one side and wooly on the other, shearling coats offer a bohemian unisex look that gives any ensemble a sense of style that is rugged and carefree. Soak the wool in the hot, soapy water for 20 minutes. Do you own sheep or have a friend who does? Using electrical shears will speed up the removal process immensely as well, but you can also get the job done equally well with old-fashioned manual sheep shears. Hand carding is relatively easy, but it does take a little practice. Shaking your fleece out will help remove some of the dust, dirt and vegetable matter (VM). Gently squeeze the water from the wool. I use Blue Dawn because it is a superb grease cutter, and is not abrasive. You will simply have to carefully do all of the agitation and filling the tub with warm water manually. shear over 140 sheep a day. If you learn how to make a Waldorf doll after watching our tutorial videos and viewing the step by step photo guide, you could sell an unfinished head (wool head shape with or without a nose only) for about $25 to $50 each. her homesteading skills are unmatched, she raises chickens, goats, horses, a wide variety of vegetables, not to mention she’s an expert is all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping and many, many more. Step 6: Turn the washing machine to the rinse setting or the final spin cycle setting to drain the water from the washer. This wet felted playscape sells for between $99 to $147 on Etsy – depending upon the inclusion of the little needle felted animals shown in the feature display photo. If you’re drying wool indoors putting a fan near the wool will help it dry faster (don‘t point it directly at the wool). Shearing process is done in this way: A sheep is caught by the shearer. As you can see, a beginner fiber enthusiast can do any of this. Shearling is commonly used in jackets, coats, shoe linings and slippers. Place the wool back into the water, and gently immerise every last bit of it. Remove the wool, and begin dying immediately while it is still wet or place it on a towel or rack to dry for one to three days before storing for future use. Repeat steps 1-4. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The key to cleaning wool properly is getting the heat levels just right and only manipulating or agitating the fleece as little as possible so it remains in its natural state. scouring) removes dirt, straw, and wool grease – lanolin from the You should assume any link is an affiliate link. Step 9: Carefully remove the scoured raw wool, and lay it out on drying racks (baking rack, old but clean screen, or dog cage panels all work well) or a towel to dry. Besides their smaller size, you can raise them for meat, wool, and milk. WASH / SCOUR. This site may earn commissions when you click on certain links. If you’re washing small batches of wool you can use a salad spinner to spin out all the excess water; or if you have a top loading washing machine you can use that by setting it to the spin cycle. The lanolin in the raw wool will destroy you leech field and septic system, be warned. When making up your dye pot, you take into account the (dry) weight of the materials to be dyed. Sheep generally have a lifespan of 6 to 14 years. Step 2: Pour in 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Any 2nd cuts you do find when skirting need to be removed from the fleece. You can push it under the water, but don’t agitate it or you’ll felt the wool. Also, often before shearing, sheep are passed through a river several times to clean the wool. Skirting your fleeces may be a little daunting for anyone new to sheep or wool, but once you do a few you’ll get the hang of it. • Fleeces are sorted at shearing according to their quality. Sheep wool keeps the animals insulated from the elements; shearing the wool removes some of their natural protection and makes it harder for the animals to self-regulate their body temperature. Keywords: Sheep; Merino; Shearing Date; Wool Growth Introduction Is know the effects of time of shearing (twice or three time of year) [1,2] or autumn versus spring [3-5], or shearing period of gestation (before or after lambing) [3,6] on the quality and production of wool, and lamb survival [6-8]. For a detailed guide to skirting see “OUR FIRST NTSRI TUNIS WOOL SHOW! Now that you have a beautifully skirted fleece in your hands it’s time to wash it! The wool of these animals is highly valued, but it is important to consider that its quality depends not only on the breed of sheep, but also on the conditions of their keeping and diet. Pull the wool apart and fluff it up – if any VM remains in the wool this step will help it fall out. the county fair, and you will not have to spent a half an hour or When the fleece is clean and dry, it is then carded into roving or batts. Fiber artists use only natural materials to make the dolls, stuffed toys, and needle felted animals, and wet felted playscapes – and are willing to pay a handsome price for quality materials dyed in a low tox manner provided by homesteaders just like you instead of commercially manufactured items that are mass produced and infused with chemicals. This The first time we sheared our sheep, we were able to give the wool away to an aunt. Repeat this several times until the fibers are evenly distributed across the carder. Sheep are grazing mammals often kept as livestock on farms. If your washer only runs hot or cold, fill half of the washer with cold water, switch to the hot setting, and manually agitate the drum for a few moments to mix the hot and cold water together. Again, remain very careful not to manipulate it too much, and cause wet felting to occur. How to clean your sheep shearing machine, combs and cutters. Proverbs 31:19 (NIV), Stages of Lambing (warning…graphic photos), Getting More out of Your Wool, part 2: Spinning and Felting, Getting More out of Your Wool, part 3: Marketing and Selling Wool & Yarn Online,,, Either a bathtub, bucket or a sink, depending on how much of the wool you want to wash at one time. It can be time consuming (washing, for example) but it’s not difficult. ( Log Out /  Learn how to shear sheep with Humble by Nature farmer and award-winning shearer Tim Stephens. Remove the wool, and begin dying immediately while it is still wet or place it on a towel or rack to dry for one to three days before storing for future use. Use a basin, bucket or container of cold or hot water and soap. Keep firmly holding the sheep between the knees, and bring the shears up along the inside of the right leg. So we don't want things like corn and feed and hay and straw. These simple yet beautiful fabric dolls and animals commonly sell for $100 to $500 each. improve wool production. It is essential to remember that exposing raw wool If the washed wool is going to be dyed, you absolutely do not want to dry it. Carding can be done with hand carders, a drum carder or even an electric drum carder. It consists mainly of just letting the wool soak in soap and then draining the water and repeating until the wool is clean. We are enrolled in the Amazon Associates program, so we may earn a commission if you purchase something from Amazon after clicking one of our links. Picking is the process of “opening up the fleece.”  You can use a picking tool or simply use your hands. Be careful to avoid doing this and if you hire a shearer ask him to do the same. The lanolin sheep produce makes them fairly water proof. And then when you bring the sheep up to get her sheared, you want to try to pick off all that loose wool. Shearing is a procedure that allows farmers to earn extra income. Rubbing the wool causes the fleece to felt on the sheep’s body. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Two sinks speeds up the short process a bit, but then the time you save it basically wasted because you have a second sink to clean when you are done with the wool washing project. Unshorn sheep become itchy in the heat and begin rubbing on hay racks, fences and each other. Basically, you want to remove the belly wool, and any matted or soiled wool, including the neck wool which can get lots of hay bits in it. You do not want to move the wool so much that you create soap suds. to clean raw wool, wash and brush the animals before removing it. If the wool is especially dirty, you may need to use 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Use your left hand to put pressure on the sheep's right shoulder joint to keep her steady. Building a sheep shearing stand out of wood, or buying a metal one will also make the wool removal process much less frustrating – or use a goat milking stand. an off grid homesteader. Washing your wool in laundry bags keeps it together nicely. Once you fleece is fully dry it’s time to pick and card it. You can also follow these same steps to wash wool in large batches using a plastic tub. Sell it as raw fleece? When showing fiber animals, they don't wash the sheep. It’s April and some of us are preparing to shear our sheep while others have already conquered that task. needle felted bear sells for $125 on Etsy. We don't like to have contaminants in the wool. Repeat steps 4-6 until the fibers are all well aligned. Personally I think it would be EASIER to wash the fleece after it's off the animal and skirted. Step 3: Either manually agitate the drum again to mix in the soap or turn on the washing machine briefly (about 30 seconds) to mix in the liquid dish soap.